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Satire & Symbolism: Montreal Review of Books Reviews Marianne Ackerman’s Holy Fools + 2 Stories

Holy FoolsIn a recent review of Marianne Ackerman’s Holy Fools + 2 Stories for the Montreal Review of Books, Timothy Niedermann speaks about satire and symbolism in Ackerman’s carefully crafted stories.

Holy Fools + 2 Stories was published by Guernica Editions in Fall 2014.

Niedermann explains the Biblical origin of the term “Holy Fools”, the title of the book’s leading novella, which “refers to a person who gives up all his worldly possessions to live the holy life.”

In “Holy Fools” Ackerman plays with this notion, and “turns it on its head”. The story focuses on two fools which symbolize “two sides of the holy fool coin: Peter, who gives up everything while professing guilt, and Tolstoy, who declares himself blameless while trying to keep everything and acquire more.”

Ackerman presents a satiric commentary on the human quest to live an interesting life that is both absorbing and humorous.

As explained by Neidermann, “Ackerman has her fun, and the reader is rewarded regularly with moments of delicious archness.”

The accompanying stories, “No one Writes to the Professor” and “Albert Fine” are different in style and subject matter from the title novella.

“The first draws its inspiration from ‘No one Writes to the Colonel,’ a Gabriel Garcia Marquez story, [and the second], ‘Albert Fine,’ is the more straightforward story of a mentally ‘slow’ hired hand and the family he works for.”

Niedermann explains  that “it is “Holy Fools” that really stands out as the most daring of the three.”

A long-time Montrealer, Marianne Ackerman was born in Belleville, Ontario. She has an MA in drama from the University of Toronto and studied French at the Sorbonne. Her three published novels include the best-seller Jump. A frequently produced playwright, her new comedy Triplex Nervosa is part of the Centaur Theatre’s 2014-15 season. She is publisher of the online arts magazine Rover, found at The novella and stories in Holy Fools mark her first foray into short fiction.

To read the full review, visit the Montreal Review of Books website:

Holy Fools + 2 Stories is available on the Guernica Editions website:

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